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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 40  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 41-47

Defense style and dissociative phenomena in patients with borderline personality disorder

Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Minia University, Minia, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Nashaat A.M Abdel-Fadeel
Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Minia University, Minia, 61111
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ejpsy.ejpsy_35_18

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Introduction Patients with borderline personality disorder (BPD) are unique and diverse in their pathology, defense style, and clinical presentations. Many of these patients have other personality disorders as well. They tend to display a wide range of other psychiatric disorders, including dissociative phenomena and experiences. Patients and methods A total of 60 female patients were diagnosed with BPD using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, IV ed. Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis II Personality Disorders. Severity of illness and emotional and behavioral aspects of patients were assessed using Borderline Evaluation of Severity over Time. Defense style of patients was assessed using the Defense Style Questionnaire. Dissociative phenomena were studied using the Dissociative Experience Scale (DES). Results The most commonly used defenses by the study patients were undoing, idealization, somatization, and splitting. Patients with absent criteria 4 (impulsivity) and 7 (feeling of emptiness) of BPD significantly displayed more mature defenses, whereas patients having criterion 9 (paranoid ideation and severe dissociation) of BPD significantly displayed neurotic type of defenses. Mature defenses were significantly negatively correlated with the absorption and depersonalization factors of DES. Neurotic defenses were significantly correlated with the total score of DES, absorption, and depersonalization factors. Immature defenses were significantly correlated only with the depersonalization factor of DES. Conclusion Patients with BPD have a specific pattern of defense style that might be linked to their specific illness criteria. Displaying certain phenomena of dissociation might be related to the particular pattern of the dominant defense mechanisms in these patients.

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